I was told this one recently. “It is good for me to be a fixer of my boyfriend because this means that I will not stop trying, because I am committed to him no matter what, and forgiveness is very much a part of our relationship.”
What advice would you give her?
Firstly, she needs to read Forgiveness is Not.
Secondly, I was also told that people in her life are recommending that she end the relationship but she is so committed to it because she is such a believer in him that she is staying in it.
She has become the liar in the relationship. She has contorted herself, she has compromised herself, all the while lying to herself that he is the one. How many lies will she accept as being okay in this relationship?
I’m also counseling a couple whom I love. They are in a marriage I believe in. But their marriage is very broken right now. How did it get that way? He is an addict. She was the fixer until she decided to not be the fixer anymore. She learned what co-dependency was. She learned about boundaries and consequences. She drew a line one day, had an intervention, and the marriage hasn’t been the same since. It has not been good and it has not been safe. There is a long road still ahead. I believe in both of these people. This change, this pain, is the beginning.
There is a lot of work going in to save this marriage. You are not married yet. You don’t need to put yourself through this pain and this drama and this fear to stay in a relationship with a fixer. No matter how much you love this person. Love is not enough for this to be a match.
You may feel deeply loved that your other needs you so much. That the one you love is dependent on you to make it through her broken life. That this need makes your relationship so special.
It may be flattering to have someone so devoted to you that she will stay with you through all of your crap. It may feel like someone finally sees you. Finally understands you. That someone will finally never leave you.
But do you really want to be nagged, nitpicked, manipulated all of the time? She is saying that she loves the broken you while she can’t help herself to try to fix you. After all, she loves you. Conditionally, as you will soon see.
Do you realize that when you are being listened to so deeply that she is at the same time trying to figure out how to use that information to fix you?
She loves you as she loves fixing you. You give her purpose. You make her feel needed. You give her the opportunity to control something in her life.
Yes, this is as bad as it sounds.
Plus now you never have to change. If her world revolves around fixing you and she gets her identity from that, you don’t have to fix your issues anymore. (Does that sit right with you?)
Healthy you should want the consequences of your bad decisions. When you feel the pain of your bad decisions you will actually make the changes. You are making the decision to be a whole person—and that is certainly attractive. (Like attracting another whole person.)
I hope your desire to be whole is stronger than your desire to stay in this unhealthy relationship.
Another real question. Does something really need to be fixed? Maybe you like your refrigerator messy. Is that really a problem? I guess it is if she is constantly on you to clean your fridge (or other regularly nagging drama). Do you really want this drama? Why are you accepting this drama?
Why are you dating someone who wants to make you a project? Why are you attracted to someone like that? What’s up with you?
Do you like being loved for your imperfections? Do you like her tenacity to stay with you no matter how dark you get?
Do you realize that this tenacity is conditional because she wants to be the one to bring you into the light. She wants to be your hero.
A hero does not make a good girlfriend. This love is conditional so she can feel the love she feels she is lacking.
Do you want to be responsible for someone’s hero complex?
Or do you just want to be loved?
Maybe you like him because he is so willing to forgive you. You can’t believe that someone loves you this much to keep on forgiving you. Even those times when you aren’t really sorry.
Ummm…there is something wrong with him too. Forgiveness creates boundaries. In this relationship the boundaries are a mess.
Do you find yourself lying to the people you are closest to in your life? Or your team? Maybe not blatantly lying but fudging the truth, bettering the story? Because you don’t want to be asked those questions?
Because you know deep down that something is off in this relationship but you don’t want to make the necessary change to end the relationship?
Because you used to believe the two of you could make it through all of these issues but now you are beginning to doubt that you will. But you still don’t want to make the necessary change to end the relationship. If anyone in your friend group asks you any questions, you are going to be confronted with these conflicting feelings so you just stay away from them.
You’ve read all the way to this point. Thank you. This is your wake up call. This is your call to action. You need to make that ending. With a fixer, things are not going to change. Read Another List to Help You Know Of Your Other is Going to Actually Change This Time. Your love is not enough to create these changes.
You need to end the relationship. Be brave. Grieve. Lament. Heal. Minimize romanticizing what you lost while cherishing the good of what you had. Then try again to find love. Because you will.
Read also: Why You Choose Someone Who Can’t Be Trusted